To everyone: Please don't give me suggestions, solutions or advice. I just need loving support.
- The days (weeks?) after guests leave our house after visiting
- The hours (days?) after any change in routine, including interacting with unfamiliar people either in or outside of the house
- The rest of the day (and usually, the following day) after I go out of the house before Daniel's nap (even if it doesn't interfere with naptime)
- The rest of the day (and sometimes, the day after) a long phone call or any length Skype conversation with family
And then I cry because I feel that way, and no one else seems to share my feelings or be going through what I'm going through.
And then I cry because I must be a horrible mother to not enjoy being a mother.
And then I cry because my kid deserves better than that.
There seems to be no solution to our predicament. (Though we're starting OT again in a couple of weeks, so maybe that will be the cure.) I've tried doing childcare exchange with another mother, and Daniel was destroyed for days after that child was in our house (so I've never even gotten to take my "turn" because I fear that change would have the same effect). I've tried going to playgroups, but they're at inconvenient times (for naps) and/or the children are older/bigger/more physically aggressive than Daniel, and he freaks out. I've tried having family come in from out of town to give me a break, but that never turns out to be as relaxing or as helpful as I had hoped.
When he was much younger (and all my friends were still on their maternity leaves from work) I had a couple of friends who would come over sometimes and just hold Daniel or take him out for a walk while he screamed so that I could take a nap, make a meal, take a shower. I don't get those breaks anymore, and his screams have only gotten louder as he's gotten older. Bonus: now, he can kick and hit me, too.
I feel extremely isolated. I don't know anyone else who is going through this. I don't personally know anyone who is a stay-at-home-mom to a baby who doesn't have extended family support close by. My family isn't geographically close (again, my choice) so they can't drop in to help out (not that it would be helpful, since routine changes mess everything up anyway). And every time I try to seek community outside our home (read: anyone other than Jaymz), there are consequences in the form of Daniel becoming totally dysregulated. It's as if I get punished every time I leave the house, so it's not worth it for me to try anymore.
In some ways Jaymz and I still have a newborn. And parents aren't meant to go through the newborn stage (of crying, need for a "womb-like environment," and need for all the time help regulating their nervous system) constantly for a year and a half (or more!). It's just too hard.
Not only is it hard to have him screaming most of the time, and still needing me so much, I have this guilt for hating it. I chose to become a mother. I knew that I was signing up for a sealed envelope. And wishing I could've chosen a different one makes me feel bad. Knowing that I feel that way and wanting Daniel never to know it (for fear he'll think it's his fault or that I wouldn't have chosen him) is a huge burden to bear.
Yeah, it'll probably get easier. But there's no guarantee, and furthermore, so far that hasn't been true! Up until this point, it's gotten harder and harder as time has gone on. Yes, he'll probably be a wonderful, delightful little kid, a sensitive, insightful teenager, and a perceptive, nurturing adult. But that's not happening right now. Right now, all I have are weeks full of Mondays.
And I'm ready for a break.